Barn Electrical & Plumbing Contractor

This may be a dumb question, but did you call a barn-specific electrician to repair/design electrical needs for your barn? We have specific needs relating to separating lights and outlets for fans etc, and we’re wanting a contractor who understands how much electricity a barn really needs. Is this a specialty or will any electrical contractor be able to handle this?

Similarly, we have some needs for fixing hydrants etc. that seems like something someone barn-specific might have a better handle on than just a regular plumber, but maybe I’m overthinking things.

Thanks in advance!

A regular electrician will (should!) be able to calculate the load and understand separating things on different circuits.

You’ll likely have more trouble with the plumbing, since a random one you choose may be more familiar with how to do house things.

Correctly installing a frost-free hydrant is a learned skill. You may need to find the manufacturer’s installation instructions and conduct some interviews to find someone who both wants to work on it and will be willing to follow directions rather than… improvising.

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Thankfully no plumber experience but I redid the electrical in my barn when we renovated. I got a couple of quotes from “regular” electricians. Each needed to know specifics of the my needs. Amps for fans and heated buckets and what I would run at the same time, etc. With that info they each came up with similar recs (at wildly different pricing).


The electrician who did my barn had done others, but still did not know basic concepts common to a stable IME. 1) When there are 2 aisles and a light switch by each aisle, that switch should only control its own aisle. 2) When the indoor arena has a switch by each aisle, that switch should turn on ALL the arena lights.

He also decided to put the switch for the dusk-to-dawn light (on the rear of the arena) next to the arena lights rather than by the door where this light was (which is where I told him to put it.) That hasn’t ended up being an issue so far though.

Summary: even if you have a barn-experienced electrician, things still have to be spelled out.

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You will have to draw out what you want no matter what. Want a switch that controls A B and C lights? down…Want a.three way switch so you can turn on 123 from either end of the barn? Write it.down. want to leave room in the panel to add more stuff later on, write it down. Want to plug in your LQ? scribble scribble.

My DH has been a master electrician for a lonnng time. He can’t guess what YOU want or what you value. Some stuff, sure, but only you know that when you do night checks you would love a way to only turn on 456 when you walk through. If he recommends it then he’s trying to sell you stuff you didn’t ask for lol and take advantage. Whatever;)

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is there to be a meter base or will the barn be fed on a sub panel from the house/dwelling?

Most areas if a meter base will have to have at least a 200amp panel, sub panels can be of any amp… but make sure the wiring from the primary panel to the sub is correctly sized to carry the load.

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You might find that a pipelaying/excavation company better understands the requirements for exterior plumbing. Some plumbers only work inside the walls of a house, exterior needs are different and depending on the depth of your water/drain lines for frost protection they might need machine assisted excavation anyways. In Ontario, plumbers do everything inside the foundation walls and pipework/sitework/excavation contractors typically do everything outside the foundation walls.

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pretty good idea. We used a lawn sprinkler company in their off season to run our barn water and install four frost free hydrants. They came in with two trenchers and three crews, trenched about 800 feet, provided the PVC pipe, installed the pipe, installed shut off valves to isolate lines, hooked up to the water service line, tested the setup, back filled the trenches and was done in about seven hours.

They had the equipment, the crews, the pipe and valves, and the time to do the job rather quickly. We supplied the hydrants

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Great advice everyone - thank you!

I have pretty clear requirements, but I wanted to be sure someone was thinking about some of the special needs that a barn has for all-weather and fireproofing. I’m never going to want less electrical capacity that’s for sure!

And thinking about an outdoor type plumber is brilliant - we may combine that with our plan for an indoor wash rack and sprinkler system for the arena - kill several birds with one large stone!

Thanks again!!! Love that this forum is such a font of valuable ideas and opinions :slight_smile:

Any master electrician can handle a barn. Barns aren’t particularly difficult in terms of electrical work (DH is a Master with 40+ years of experience). The issue he runs into is lack of planning/plans, change orders, and unrealistic budgets. Don’t pick the cheap guy who doesn’t want to run every inch of wire through conduit. Insist on conduit.

Warning : before you get sticker shock…electrical supplies are as pricey as lumber right now.

We use the well guy for barn plumbing. And a regular electrician for the electrical work. No problems with either!